Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: God has adopted us into His family. He is a Father who will never fail us.

Who's Your Daddy?

1 John 3:4-10

The last rain soaked, numbed-out fan sloshed out of Max Yasgur's muddy pasture more than 30 years ago. That was the day the Woodstock Music and Art Festival came to a close. What was billed as "three days of peace and music" turned into something altogether different for the 500,000 young people who made the trip to the serene pasture in Sullivan County. True believers who still reminisce about the beauty of Woodstock say that it was an era devoted to human advancement. Cynics and skeptics adamantly claim that it was a demonstration of the lawlessness and naivete of the day.

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969 drew more than 500,000 people to Sullivan County in New York. For four days, the site became a countercultural mini-nation in which minds were open, drugs were all but legal and love was "free". The music began Friday afternoon at 5:07 pm on August 15 and continued until mid-morning Monday, August 18. The festival closed the New York State Thruway and created one of the nation's worst traffic jams. The utter chaos and mayhem also brought about new local and state laws to ensure that nothing like it would ever happen again.

The four young men who put the festival together settled on the slogan, "Three Days of Peace and Music." The promoters figured "peace" would link the anti-war sentiment to the rock concert. They also wanted to avoid any violence and figured that a slogan with "peace" in it would help keep order. What the promoters failed to consider was that the total abolition of laws and the overt indulgence in drugs, free sex, and rebellion would never stand a chance of bringing about peace in any way, shape, or form. Helen Graham, one of the workers of the festival can attest to the chaotic scene.

Helen worked for "Food for Love," a food supplier for the concert. On the second day of the festival a Food for Love truck was stuck in the traffic about five miles northeast of the festival site. The truck was raided. "One of the kids got in, and then they started throwing the food out all over the road, the bread, the hot dogs," one of the workers testified. Later, when hungry customers overran the booths, Food for Love disintegrated. "It started to rain, and it got ugly," said Helen Graham, who at 41 was one of the senior employees of Food for Love. "It was 2 am, and I yelled, 'Joan Baez is on. Joan Baez is on.' I wanted to get the teen-agers away from the stand. They just wanted to stare at me." Mrs. Graham found herself trapped at the festival because her car was blocked in. She wanted out of the Woodstock Nation. "It wasn't my type of culture. It wasn't my type of upbringing. It wasn't my type of experience." she said. "I kind of blotted it out from my head. It was a frightening experience. I didn't see the love and the peace. I saw an overwhelming crowd, and I didn't understand what was going on."

Woodstock, thirty years later, has become an instant adjective denoting youthful hedonism and 60's excess. "What we had here was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence," said Bethel town historian Bert Feldman. "Dickens said it first: 'It was the best of times. It was the worst of times'. It's an amalgam that will never be reproduced again." If it would have only been true.

This past summer the children of the Woodstock generation gathered for another attempt to capture the utopian promises of "three days of peace and music," but the Woodstock '99 festival degenerated into mayhem and violence. By the end of the festival, teenagers faced off against the police, destroying trust, overturning cars, trashing equipment, looting, and setting fires-while chanting, "I won't do what you tell me," a line from a song played by one of the bands.

The commentators on MTV was stunned with what took place. The evening news programs broadcast grisly pictures of violence and anarchy and tried to convince us that this outbreak was newsworthy. Why should we have been surprised? Afterall, it was the parents of the crowd who first sloshed around in the mud, chanted expletives at the top of their lungs, and defiantly stood against everything that was good and decent some thirty years ago. It was the previous generation, the mom and dads, who sowed the seeds of discord and lawlessness that finally yielded their fruit this past summer.

Woodstock illustrates the complete failure of humanity's attempt to achieve peace and love apart from God. Every time people seek to create a utopian setting apart from God, the end result is that it devolves into chaos and violence. The promise is that if we reform unjust social structures, natural human goodness will flourish. A utopian society can be created.

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